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COVID-19 Ripples Through Global Food Trade

Sim Tack
Senior Global Analyst , Stratfor
Apr 2, 2020 | 17:15 GMT
A man pulls a shopping trolley down a near-empty aisle in a supermarket in Paris, France, on March 2, 2020. Supermarket shelves in countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have been emptied of basic food necessities in recent weeks, such as pasta and rice.

A man pulls a shopping trolley down a near-empty aisle in a supermarket in Paris, France, on March 2, 2020. Supermarket shelves in areas affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have been emptied of basic food necessities, such as pasta and rice, in recent weeks. 

(AFP via Getty Images)

Just as COVID-19 has caused turmoil in global financial and energy markets, the pandemic is also affecting the global food market as more countries move to shore up their domestic supplies. The attempts by food importers to increase their reserves, and by food exporters to limit the outflow, have already affected prices of core food stocks such as wheat and rice. The pandemic, however, is unlikely to lead to any major food security emergencies in the short term, as many countries are taking action to guarantee access to food and regulate food prices. Global food markets are also somewhat padded as they entered this crisis with already substantial reserves from a period of strong harvests. China, for example, currently holds over half of the 287.1 million tons of the world’s wheat reserves. But localized misalignments of supply and demand still carry risk in other areas of the world....

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